Skip to main content

tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  April 25, 2015 1:30am-2:01am PDT

1:30 am
gwen: the clinton cash machine, a confirmed attorney general and parsing mixed messages it from iran. all tonight on "washington week." president obama: it's a cruel and bitter truth in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes sometimes deadly mistakes can occur. gwen: a tragic intelligence mistake kills americans on both sides of the anti-terrorism war and raises questions about whether to go from here. >> it's my opinion that we need to do more pt we should have done more and we should do more for all of these hostages. this is a complicated business. gwen: in the 2015 campaign trail, the spotlight turns once again to hillary clinton.
1:31 am
>> republicans seem to be talking only about me. don't know if they would talk about if i weren't in the race. gwen: but it's not just the republicans talking. what do we need to know about the clinton foundation? on capitol hill t. took five months and vote on an enpyrely unrelated bill -- >> this has been a long, strange journey here to final passage but here we are. gwen: -- but loretta lynch finally wins senate confirmation. and in yemen, on again/off again military strikes. growing u.s. presence in the gulf and looming influence of iran. >> there's a lot of speculation about what may or may not be on the iranian convoy. but having our ships in place is the right thing to do. gwen: and then what? coversing the week, ma zpetty from "the new york times," jeff zeleny, senior washington correspondent for cnn. juana summers, congressional reporter for npr, and hannah allam, national correspondent
1:32 am
from mcclatchy newspapers. >> award winning reporting and analysis covering history as it happens, live from our nation's capitol, this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we're committed to strong. we're committed to sure. we're committed to smart and light, secure and bold. in a world of enduring needs, the men and women of boeing are proud to build and deliver critical capabilities for those who serve to protect our nation and its allies, and that's an enduring commitment. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- prudential.
1:33 am
additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity, and nourishing the common good. the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. it was an extraordinary moment. the president yesterday taking responsibility and apologizing for the deaths of american citizens at the hands of american forces. today in a speech to the national intelligence community he spoke of his regret. president obama: we all bleed when -- when we lose an american life. we all grieve when any innocent life is taken. we don't take this work lightly.
1:34 am
and i know that each and every one of you understand the magnitude of what we do. and the mistakes involved. and these are not abstractions and we're not cavalier about what we do. gwen: but we're still figuring out exactly what did happen on two separate dates in different locations where u.s. drones apparently guided by faulty intelligence took the lives of four men. one an american hostage, another an italian hostage and two american-born al qaeda operatives. none of it happened on purpose. three months after it happened and barely 36 hours after we learned about it, what do we know now about the circumstances thatcu led to this mark? mark: we know that the cia was tracking several compounds as it has for years in the travel areas of pakistan. and in the case of the strike that killed the hostages, it was -- there were drones surveiling
1:35 am
the compound for days, weeks andor in the very end almost unbroken surveillance. the order was taken to take -- to carry out the strike and it took weeks to find out what actually had happened. and as it turns out and as we reported today, they found out the real evidence of the mistake is there were two extra bodies pulled out of the compound and buried when the cia only thought there were four in the compound. that is a strike getting the more attention and obviously it sort of raises this issue of just how accurate these strikes are. gwen: so they were watching, they were careful. but how could they not detect the two additional humans inside this building? mark: well, the technology only allows them to see who comes and goes. he they can't see inside of a compound. ostages are presumably kept in one place for a long period of time or they were brought in during one point in the gap in the surveillance.
1:36 am
so all they were able to see were four people coming and going and not the two people who were possibly inside the compound the entire time. so again it was only afterwards they found out many people had been killed. >> we saw the president speak therein we saw him make this announcement at the white house on thursday, fairly dramatic. why is this drone program defined his administration? and how has it defined his administration? mark: well president obama campaigned on getting the united states of being in messy wars of occupation. the drone in many ways has been a tool he's embraced because it was something besides iraq and afghanistan. he has accelerated the drone campaign far more drone strikes under obama than there were under bush. so this has been in many ways his program. this is really the first time though you see him out there expressing his redepret. it should be noted this is not the first time there have been civilians killeds or even the first time there have been
1:37 am
american civilian killed. clearly this weighed on obama and i think it really created this moment where the program is under fire like never before. >> even it calls into question also the use of signature strikes, which i thought we were told would be phased out last year some time. so what happened? mark: so it's interesting -- gwen: first of all, what are they. mark: signature strikes are when the cia will carry out a strike without knowing specifically who they're targeting. they're based on what they're called patterns of behavior. someone determined to be al qaeda or different type of militant but they don't know that is specific people. those have been allowed in pakistan in part because of questions of people going over the border into afghanistan and going after american troops. as you pointed out president obama indicated in a big speech he gave two years ago that by the end of last year, those strikes would end. but very quietly they were allowed to continue and as we saw in these two strikes in january, they have sometimes when you lower the bar, you have
1:38 am
really dangerous consequences. >> and one person we haven't talked about in this conversation is john brennan. looking at the landscape and drones, what does this mean for him? mark: yes, brennan is an interesting character. he was an architect of the program in the first term in the white house. he goes to the cia. he continues the program, but he remains very close to obama. he's one of the obama's closest advisers. he's been embattled before, notably last year with the issue of senate intelligence community and hacking into their computers. obama stood by him. and for all we have seen so far will continue to stand by him. gwen: we only have a few seconds but i do want to talk about pack stn of it's interest ling both of these things happened, both this strike and strike that killed the al qaeda-americans, both happened in one -- the country that's one of our allies. how do we -- aren't they supposed to be helping us on this? mark: has a long and complicated story about the relationship with pakistan. yes, the relationship is better
1:39 am
but the united states is continuing to carry these strikes out at a lower rate than before. but they're not doing it -- they're not informing the pakistanis in advance and sometimes there's real tension in the relationship when the u.s. carries out these unilateral acts. gwen: there's going to be more. supposed to be investigating this, so we will see what they come up with. thanks, mark. we hopscotch now to another of the big headlines this week following the money inside the clinton foundation. and it's a lot of money. much of it directed towards philanthropy but where is it coming from and why? a number of reports it this week have sought to make the link between the foundation's activities and action of then secretary of state -- surprise -- hillary clinton. are we seeing smoke or are we seeing firing, jeff? jeff: yes, we are seeing both. i think it depends -- we're not quite sure how much fire there's going to be because there's so much smoke, we're not sure where this is going to go. more often than not, the reports this week were not as revealing for something we didn't know was going on but shining a broad
1:40 am
light and reminding us that the clinton foundation has been under way for a while but it's grown so much over the last several years. we had no idea really what the speaking fees that the president was getting. former president bill clinton. $500,000 to give one speech in moscow. the reason that became important was because moscow and russia, this uranium company, was trying to invest in the u.s. and buy u.s. uranium and someone else involved in it happened to give $.35 million to the clinton foundation. the deal went through so, of course, it looks suspect. we don't know if it is suspect. but that was one example "the new york times" wrote about this week that reminded us this is such an unusual situation. a former president, secretary of state and now she's running for president. so everyone is looking at this. gwen: wasn't the secretary of state supposed to notify the administration she was now working for whenever she had any -- the foundation had any dealings with with foreign governments or foreign entities?
1:41 am
jeff: yes. and that did not appear to happen in this case and that is a good point. going back to january of 2009, senator dick lugar sat in the foreign relations committee hearing and said the clinton foundation is going to be attempting entity for foreign governments and other people who are trying to do business with the u.s. she said look everything will be above board. we will sign a pledge to disclose everything. so for the first time we are seeing that didn't happen in this case. that's why it matters. so this has all come to a tension because of the new book going to be released may 5th. it's written by a conservative author, former speechwriter to president george w. bush, former sarah palin adviser. so the clinton campaign seized on that and said this is a partisan hit job. don't mind that quite as much. there's so much actual interesting stuff at the foundation that we're going to see, some people ask why it's legitimate. well if she wins, the president will still be in the white house. she will be the president.
1:42 am
other entities will be there. clinton foundation is still there. it's a legitimate question with so many, so many angles. >> jeff, it's april 2015. election is still pretty long ways away. is there any benefit to this coming out now oppose to say around labor day or when she's actually the democratic nominee? jeff: good question. i guess it can be seens old news, oh this sounds familiar but i'm not sure this is what the clinton campaign wanted week two of its candidacy. very careful roll-out. she was doing this reconnection tour with voters. so certainly they didn't want this. but you sort of deal with the hand that you have. so i guess it gets it out of the way at this point. at least this part of it. but we still don't know the whole picture. >> obviously people have very strong opinions about hillary clinton. does something like this you think going to affect do they care? are voters going to care from anything we know at this point? gwen: it helps that it's really murky. mark: and the more complicated it is the better it is for the clintons. it seems like a very familiar story.
1:43 am
but i think you're right, most people have their minds made up. they like her or like what she stands for or don't like what it stands for. but it goes to the heart -- of course, voters are not paying attention. they don't know enough about it yet but it goes to the heart of the key worries of some of her advisers trust and credibility. if this is hammered out every day for the next, you know, year and a half, that's not good for her. >> was there a vetting failure here? gwen: what do you mean by vetting? >> why didn't we know about all of this before? >> you think of her as someone on the national stage so, so long. the clinton foundation has changed so much since 2008 when she ran for president the last time because bill clinton's speaking fees through the roof. the clinton foundation has grown into this sprawling thing. when she ran the first time, it was much smaller and swheapt secretary of state. that's a key question. did it grow on her watch? gwen: is it too soon? affecting her fund-raising or what voters are saying at all? >> i think it's a little too
1:44 am
soon. the reaction has basically been partisan reaction but they're trying to raise money, a lot of money and the fact they're reminded the clintons got really wealthy over the past decade does not help fund-raising. doesn't help it at all. gwen: thanks jeff. i guess we will be revisiting this time and time again. today at the department of justice, outgoing attorney general eric holder had yet another good-bye ceremony. 5 1/2 months after he first announced he was leaving. >> this is my third going away, but i promise, it's the last one. i think we can officially say now eric holder is free. gwen: he then took off two free eric holder rubber wrist bands and flung them into the crowd. prosecutor loretta lynch is finally on her way to justice after 10 republicans joined the democrats to confirm her nomination. in the end finelely she got through, juana. what changed? juana: everything and nothing at
1:45 am
the same time. this was never really entirely about loretta lynch. what this long, protracted nomination battle that we had not seen before was about was the fact republicans did not like eric holder and yet when they were presented with a replacement in loretta lynch who many concede she's very well qualified and ready for the job she got someone who spoke up and said she supported the president's action on immigration, which may be some of the things republicans dislike more than eric holderp himself. so we saw it dug up improbation and unrelated human tracking bill which you discussed on the program before get drawn into this. that was rehe resolved earlier this week and in the end she won the support of 10 republicans. most interesting senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. gwen: of the things i found interesting about all of these confirmation hearings but this one in particular she was being peoplized for agreeing with the president who nominated her. what was expected?
1:46 am
juana: if you listened to what republicans said, what they wanted in a new head of justice department is someone who would lead the justice department independently of the president. which may be far flung from a nominee from a democratic president. what they want is their own ed and with president obama in the white house, they were not going to get it. jeff: and all of that elections have consequences. the person who talked the most was ted cruz. he surged senators to purt a hold on her nomination. where was he this week? juana: that's a funny one. ted cruz spoke to the floor and spoke forcefully about loretta lynch and said she was -- she would consider the wallaceness of the eric holder's justice department. then he got out of town. his staff said it was a scheduling conflict. and posted online an instation he had flown back home for a fund-raiser. so it's definitely an interesting molt -- gwen: that's a schedule conflict.
1:47 am
jeff: big fund-raiser but hypothetical, right? juana: a little bit. and it's happening where ted cruz is coming under fire from news organizations like huffington post, for not doing what voters elected him to do showing up and voting. jeff: what do we know about what does she want to do, what are her priorities at the justice department? juana: one of the biggest things we're likely to see from loretta lynch and this is what president obama remarks he made last night after she folk is she would work really hard to bridge the trust gap of the minorities across it country and law enforcement officials as the president, others in the administration have said loretta lynch knows a lot about justice but also knows a lot about community. that's a hole we expect to see her step into. and what we saw in charleston, south carolina is what we are saying play out this weekend in baltimore, maryland. there will be a lot of ground there. she will also be tasked obviously with sentencing reform and surveillance issue that's had been hughes for the holder justice department. she will also have to work to
1:48 am
gain the trust of republicans, who are as we stated earlier, not likely to trust they are given the feelings they have about eric holder and the feelings they have about the president's immigration policy which, of course, she will play a huge part in. gwen: i'm always curious about what republicans are up to more broadly. so for instance in this case, this was an effort to say we got something done. right? after -- 5 1/2 months but we got something done. they got something done also on moving ahead on trade authority. got something done on the medicare doctors fix to medicare. so is this part of a new campaign on the part of republicans to say we've got somethin w going? juana: if you listen to republican leadership on both sides of the capital, house instant, big thing they're talking about now is this is the new republican congress. it's been a little more than 100 days since the 114th congress was sworn in and they point to the accomplishments you mentioned, doc fix, human trafficking bill that finally just passed the senate. but there's still a long ways to go and that's important to note.
1:49 am
there's another big deadline at the end of may, highway trust fund is set to run out. they will have to deal with the debt limit. a lot of hurdles. while congress in large has made compromises, many of which came from a bipartisan place, i think it's a little too soon to blow up the balloons and have a party for this congress. gwen: looking back on the 10 republicans, how significant were others, than mitch mcconnell, the votes for her? juana: they're very in particular one person with woodward who jumped in and voted, looking at her re-election chances. ron johnson, another republican who voted for her. these are significant looking at the 2016 now. >> that is fascinating because they need independents to vote for them. gwen: exactly. everything is connected to everything else. thank you. as you see here, nothing is simple. only a few weeks ago the state department was celebrating a breakthrough in negotiations to scale back iran's numelar capabilities. but this week even as those
1:50 am
negotiations resumed, we were keeping an eye on iran again. this time in yemen, where saudi air strikes have upped the ante. the worry that an interm conflict has now become a proxy war between two powerful neighbors, iran and saudi arabia. it sent another u.s. war ship into the gulf of aden this week. >> movement of the -- of this particular aircraft carrier would augment the american military presence in the gulf of aden and would send a clear signal about our continued insistence about the free flow of commerce and freedom of movement in the region. gwen: where does it stand tonight, hannah? hannah: the good news is, believe me it's in short supply in yemen, but if there's any glimmer i suppose of good news it would be that this crisis in the high seas we all braced for this week appears to have dissipated because these -- these iranian vessels have moved back northeast towards iran and
1:51 am
one of the war ships that the u.s. positioned there has also been redirected back to the persian gulf. so it looks like no showdown on the high seas or the question of would the u.s. go so far as to intercept a ship? would the u.s. board an iranian vessel or any of the other ships this from theis coalition, egyptian vessel, saudi, as well? so nobody wants to see that kind of escalation. and certainly the pentagon described it as a deescalation of the tensions that we have seen this week. gwen: one of the things, every single day there was a different report coming out of yemen. one day, saudis said we're done. we're done with our air strikes and going to pull back and et next day they began again. the next day part of the ethnic minority trying to overthrow the current government said oh, we're going to step back too and they didn't. it seems like a very confusing situation on the ground. >> to say the least.
1:52 am
conflict within conflict within conflict and it's very difficult to get a clear picture. but the latest, i suppose, is thathere's some movement on the diplomatic front with the u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon today appointing a new special envoy for yemen to rainbow these parties back to the negotiating table. but as you said, there hasn't been a cessation of the hostilities. the saudis announced one day they stopped the air strikes a only to begin them hours later. they are still fighting raging in several cities and, of course massive humanitarian disaster with a thousand civilians killed, 4,000 injured many hundreds of those children. and an interm displacement problem that has spilled now, the refugee commissioner for the u.n. said we're now seeing this awful irony of yemen getting so awful that people are fleeing to somalia.
1:53 am
so that's -- yes, we have averted this conflict on the seas for now it seems. certainly no letup on the violence in sight. >> and for years the united states, primary objective in yemen has been to go after al qaeda. we're now on the side of the saudis who are fighting al qaeda's enemies. and the real question i guess among people you talk to, is there a concern or any evidence that this conflict that we have been now brought into is actually strengthening al qaeda? which is the real primary american interest in yemen. hannah: absolutely. already we have seen al qaeda gain territory. they have -- they did a much-publicized prison break. freed several of their operatives. they have taken a port and airport nearby. so far, they seem to have been fitford this conflict. and the warning from counterterrorism experts, analysts who study yemen is the longer this drags on, the more operating space al qaeda and
1:54 am
arraign yab peninsula will get and the more regional and international intervention will only exacerbate that kind of chaos. >> what does this do to the iran talks overall that will now be under way in vienna? what's our update on that? hannah: u.s. officials always like to say these are two separate issues. and they -- they were. i don't think anyone would dispute it's nice to sit down in vienna and talk. this is the first formal talk since the framework agreement was reached. so i think they're all relieved they don't have a maritime crisis in the backdrop do that. gwen: and they have a deadline june 30th, the next deadline. trn hick tock. gwen: we will be watching all of that. thank you all very much. we've got to go but the conversation will continue later on tonight online. on the "washington week" webcast extra, where among other things, we will talk about the sunshine state war heating up between two
1:55 am
republicans, jeb bush and marco rubio. that's mr. zeleny. you can watch it all week long at keep up daily developments with me and judy woodruff at the pbs newshour and we will see you next week here on "washington week." good night. >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> how much money do you have in your pocket right now? >> i have $40. >> $20. >> could something that small make an impact on something as
1:56 am
big as your retirement? >> i don't think so. >> no. >> if you start putting that moneymo towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time for 20, 30 years that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" week is provided by boeing. additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation. donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. the annenberg foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
1:57 am
1:58 am
1:59 am
2:00 am
next on "newsroom" -- >> crowded, smelly, dirty. >> doesn't stick to its schedule. i'll put it that way. >> frustrated passengers and aging transit system. >> we'd love to expand service. we haven't got the money to do that, but we're trying creative things. >> making public transit work, now. good evening and welcome to kqed "newsroom." i'm thuy vu. we all know that getting around the bay area can be difficult. traffic is a mess, and public transportation isn't always easy. on tonight's show, we're going to look at what is and is not working with the bay area's biggest public transit system. in a moment, i'll talk with leaders of caltrain, muni and the valley transportation authority. bu